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Don’t rush into retirement

It can drive you half crazy — deciding whether to retire.

And if you do decide to retire, and then realize you weren’t ready, it’s quite possible you’ll feel like you’ve gone completely mad.

At least that’s the way I felt.

Make no mistake, fellow boomers — financial issues aren’t all you have to think about when deciding whether to exit your work role.

You need to also think about your psychological needs.

For months I debated whether to go after a Ph.D in heritage studies. The idea of actually attaining the highest academic degree of competence in a particular field of study — in this case, how we got to this place in time — appealed to me.

I knew I could use what I’d learn in both teaching and in writing books.

That I was at a societal norm for retirement age — I was then 66 — definitely played a role in considering the graduate program.

Take my age out of the equation and I would have never considered the option. Not only did I love what I did at the Review-Journal, I also had the energy and good health to continue.

After six months of internal debate and discussion with my wife — she had recently retired after 42 years of teaching special education — I decided to leave the Review-Journal.

I convinced myself that I was making an exciting career change.

The decision was made easier by the fact that I had won a fellowship that paid for the entire doctorate.

Unfortunately, soon after leaving the newspaper I realized the pace of academia was far too slow. Papers that I could do in a week weren’t due for eight weeks.

Though succeeding academically for two years — always A’s — I was miserable.

Fortunately, I was able to return to the newspaper.

To help you make your retirement decision, I suggest you read a book by counseling pyschologist Nancy K. Schlossberg called “Retire Smart, Retire Happy, Finding Your True Path In life.”

What I learned the hard way is this: Don’t let societal norms of when retirement should take place influence your decision.

You are you. Not a societal norm.

Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Thursday in the Life section. Contact him at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter.

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